Judge Rules on Student Anarchy Club
By MICHELLE SAXTON, Associated Press Writer
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A judge ruled Thursday that a 15-year-old sophomore cannot form an anarchy club or wear T-shirts opposing the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan (news - web sites) because it would disrupt school.
Katie Sierra was suspended from Sissonville High School for three days for promoting the club. She was also told she could not wear T-shirts with messages such as: ``When I saw the dead and dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a newly recovered sense of national security. God Bless America.''
In a complaint filed with her mother, Sierra argued her right to free speech was being denied.
Circuit Court Judge James Stucky agreed that free speech is ``sacred'' but he found that such rights are ``tempered by the limitations that they ... not disrupt the educational process.''
Sierra said she'll pursue the dispute.
``I don't want war. I'm not for Afghanistan,'' Sierra said. ``I think that what we're doing to them is just as bad as what they did to us, and I think it needs to be stopped.''
James Withrow, lawyer for the Kanawha County Board of Education, argued that an anarchy club was inappropriate because students ``do not feel that their school is a safe place anymore.''
``Anarchy is the antithesis of what we believe should be in schools,'' Withrow said.
Sierra's attorney, Roger Forman, said she is ``being punished for expressing her opinion.''
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